The Contemplify podcast kindles the examined life through artful musings with scholars, creatives and master teachers.
Contemplify seeks to glean wisdom from master contemplatives across the ages (Thomas Merton, Simone Weil, Lao Tzu, Ralph Waldo Emerson to name a few) by those who know them best—the scholars who have devoted themselves to studying, embracing and teaching the contemplative’s life and work in the world. Interviews with creatives and master teachers shine a light forward on engaging meaning and depth through subtle, artistic means and exploring beyond the current boundaries of thought to make way for a more sustainable frontier.
Each episode delivers a subtly intoxicating* exchange on the contemplative lifestyle with practical takeaways to emulate in daily life. Contemplify gladly joins the creatives, thought leaders and scholars ringing the bell in the ivory tower for the pleasure of those robbing a moment of contemplation on the backporch.
Ring the bell. Rob the moment. Contemplify.
Host, Paul Swanson, is a husband, father and contemplative educator at the Center for Action and Contemplation's Living School**.
*Contemplify is best served with a pint in hand. Please listen responsibly.
** All shenanigans, tom foolery and bally-hoo posted on Contemplify are my own. Contemplify is not representative of the Center for Action and Contemplation or Richard Rohr on any matter.
Charlie Chaplin in the Gears of Modern Times
A contemplative musing on machines, lifeblood, and facing the facts of life.
Visit contemplify.com for more shenanigans
Scott Ballew on Talking to Mountains & the Sublimity of Sad Songs
Scott Ballew is songwriter from Austin, Texas. He earns his keep as the Head of Films and Commercials at YETI, producing and directing films that inspire a life well-lived. During the pandemic, Scott dusted off his guitar and got to writing songs, polishing them, and then to his own surprise, releasing an album out into the wild. Scott Ballew’s first album is called Talking to Mountains. In our conversation we talk about the genesis of his album, the relationship between sobriety and creativity, the entanglement of humor and sadness, how legendary Texan songwriter Terry Allen helped form Scott’s artistic backbone, the perennial life questions that have been peppering him throughout his entire life and a good deal more. You can listen to Scott Ballew’s album Talking to Mountains on all the streaming services or head over to leisurerodeo.com to get your mitts on a cassette or an LP. And you read that right, that’s leisurerodeo.com.
Tending to the Spiritual Interior of Language with Lia Purpura
Lia was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the writer in residence at the University of Maryland, and has been published in all the notable places. Our conversation does not disappoint, Lia is wise, poetic, and enjoys the same teeter totter I do; playful with serious matters and serious about playful matters, balanced on the fulcrum of loving presence.
Deadstock in the Storm with Jeffrey Foucault
Jeffrey Foucault is a top shelf songwriter. Foucault has a slew of albums worth your collection and his latest Deadstock should be the first one you pick up after you enjoy this conversation.
Visit contemplify.com to read the shownotes for this conversation
Being is Action with Andrew Krivak
Andrew Krivak is the author of three novels: The Signal Flame (2017), and The Sojourn (2011), a National Book Award finalist, and his latest novel, The Bear. In our conversation you hear of Andrew’s formation as a Jesuit, our dwelling in the depth dimension of now, how his novel The Bear relates to that dimension and is also a manifesto against interiority, and much more.
Visit Contemplify.com to learn more.
Immersion Journalist of the Soul with Fred Bahnson
"The gate of heaven opens for us all, but the hinge swings outward as much as inward, leading not into some hermetically sealed chamber, but a spacious meadow where we find every person we’ve ever known, a field of solitaries loved beyond measure, a destination as near as our next breath."
-- Fred Bahnson
Asking the right questions
Paul asks the right questions and then listens well. His own reflections are warm, poetic, and accesible for those pursuing a more intentional life.
The ONE podcast I won’t skip
I’m a podcast junkie. I’m subscribed to all kinds of podcasts for thinkers, writers, and creatives. Usually I’m picky and only download a select few episodes from each show, but Contemplify is the exception: I eagerly wait for each release. Paul has that rare balance of whimsy and insight, speaking just as eloquently about beer as he can about the human spirit. He asks the best interview questions, and his sincerity is contagious. Cheers to Paul, Contemplify, and the community of contemplatives!
Paul consistently brings interesting voices into dialogues that I learn from. Really thoughtful and well done. Wish there were more podcasts like this one!